Book Reviews

the real period project

Book Reviews

(by Nicola and friends)

As a mother I have often found books a helpful resource and have turned to various volumes over the years for a steer on pretty much all aspects of parenting.

As my eldest daughter heads towards puberty, I have been casting about for books that may prove useful in supporting her and our whole family through the onset and ups and downs of menstruation. Thankfully there are plenty of titles out there!

 While choice is great I found it a bit overwhelming at first to navigate my way through all the available titles and find things that suit me and my family.  With this in mind we thought it would be helpful to review titles we come across and take the sting out of choosing books that are right for you and yours.

If you click on the book image above each review this will take you to Amazon via an affiliate link (or some take you direct to the seller’s website). Buying via this link is a way to support our work at The Real Period Project as we will get a small percentage of the price you pay. Thank you!

Read on……

Period.

Written and illustrated by Natalie Byrne

Published by Break the Habit Press (2018)

At a glance

Age Group:
7 – Adults

Suitable for:
Looking at together with your child, older children reading alone, spark discussions in a group setting.

Key themes:
A good humoured look at menstruation, puberty, body positive, menstruation products, myth busting!

Period is a collection of fantastic illustrations covering pretty much every aspect of menstruation. The drawings are simple and fun and the language used is the same.

It is also very funny and the author uses playful humour to convey the themes covered. It is well laid out and the first five chapters – our bodies, the menstrual cycle, period products, healthy down there and feeling good – offer a fairly thorough exploration of the subjects.

Chapter six – bloody history – gives brief accounts of how women menstruating at different points in history in different societies were viewed. It seems to be a bit of an afterthought but could also be useful as a starting point for further research.

On the whole this book is a gem. It is funky and fresh with a very broad appeal and is brimming with useful facts and practical advice. The presentation, tone and humour really make it a book for the whole family and it would certainly be a worthwhile addition to the bookshelf.

Cycling to Grandma’s House

Jac Torres-Gomez
illustrations by Erin-Claire Barrow

Published by LULU (2014)

At a glance

Age Group:
5 – 13

Suitable for:
Reading together with your child or group, older children reading alone.

Key themes:
Celebrating menarche, international practices, openness around menstruation.

Cycling to Grandma’s House is a picture book that tells the story of Luna.

She is set the task of finding out something special about being a girl and on discussion with her mother decides to focus on menarche and interview her grandmother about her experiences as a young girl in her native land. She meets several women en route who share their stories of menarche in their home countries. All of which she compiles into a report and presents to her class.

The story is simple, celebratory and informative and the illustrations are friendly and colourful.

I have read it to my daughters who are 6 and 10 and both seemed to enjoy it. The eldest has also read it to the youngest and that seemed to work too.

It was a good starting point for our own discussions on the subject and was easy to digest for both girls. It would probably be suitable up to early teens as the practices outlined in the story are genuinely informative regarding practices in other parts of the world.

It could also be useful in a group setting and help to spark discussions and deepen awareness of menstruation as a global issue.

The style is simple, accessible and uplifting. All in all, a very useful little book to have on the shelf.

The Autism-Friendly Guide to Periods

Robyn Steward

Published by Jessica Kingsley (2019)

At a glance

Age Group:
9+

Suitable for:
Reading together with your child or group, older children reading alone.

Key themes:
Down to earth and practical advice about periods and the menstrual cycle written for young people of all genders. 

The Autism-Friendly Guide to Periods is an informative and really useful book that covers everything to do with menstruation, in a really accessible way.

A cut-out ‘Life the flap’ sheet allows readers to proceed at their own pace, revealing information and pictures when they’re ready.  The book includes lots of illustrations and photos of how to manage menstruation, including how to use and change each of the different types of menstrual products available (including reusables).

Robyn is autistic and understands well how to present information in ways that all people can understand. 

This is a great book for anyone to learn more about this topic. 

 

Making Pink Lemonade

Written and illustrated by Sarah O’Mahoney

Published by Good Being A Girl (2016)

At a glance

Age Group:
10 – Adult

Suitable for:
Reading to your 10+ year old or reading alone from 10+

Key themes:
Celebrating and honouring menarche, and tracking your cycle

Making Pink Lemonade is a super story, told in the style of a diary, about a young girl called Kali coming to terms with the onset of her periods. It is funny and easy to read with lots of friendly illustrations throughout.

It The book is written in the style of a journal from Kali’s perspective and follows her through two full menstrual cycles so readers have the opportunity to see the patterns that emerge as Kali records her changes in mood and energy levels. This story provides a very useful and encouraging insight into the benefits of cycle tracking and awareness. 

The story covers the important role supportive family members plat at menarche, having your period at school and cultural practices and history from other parts of the world. 

Making Pink Lemonade is upbeat and celebratory. Kali is a super sparkly central figure and her relationships are authentic. The whole tone is designed to allay fears and provide friendly reassurance. She feels like a friend, sharing her thoughts and insights with the reader and as such I think tweens and teenagers will certainly benefit from curling up on the sofa with a copy of this great little book. 

It is available direct from Sarah’s website and she gives a 10% commission of all sales to The Real Period Project. 

Menstrual Doodles

Written and illustrated by Rebecca Martin

Published by Spirit Mouse Press (2018)

At a glance

Age Group:
10 – Adult

Suitable for:
Reading to your 10+ year old or reading alone from 10+

Key themes:
Cycle awareness, menstruality period positivity.

Menstrual Doodles is a lovely little book that is packed full of helpful information and  quirky illustrations. It is warm and funny and very much about empowering young folk to celebrate their cycle and the onset of their periods. 

 

 

The author also introduces the idea of the four phases of the menstrual cycle and gives super tips on how to navigate changes in energy levels mood as the cycle progresses.

The book really encourages a mindful approach to the cycle and explains how journaling and charting can help youngsters (and the rest of us!) to get to grips with their cycle and learn how to respond to changes in energy levels throughout. 

There is also a super trouble-shooting section and info about different products that are available. 

This is a very empowering and body positive little book aimed at normalising conversations around menstruation and highlighting the benefits of being menstrually aware.

Fathers Raising Daughters

Nigel Latta

Published by Harper Collins New Zealand (2010)

At a glance

Age Group:
Adult – dads, it’s aimed at parents or carers of pre/pubescent girls

Suitable for:
Dads looking for help staying close and connected with their daughter as she grows up 

Key themes:
Supporting girls through adolescence and puberty and effective communication

Fathers Raising Daughters is an informative, accessible, short, simple, entertaining and generally satisfying bit of parental self-help literature. The style is light, humourous, cosy and chatty and I particularly liked the ridiculous tangents that take the reader away from any somber, anxious thoughts, as well as some of the chapter headings – ‘Pop Culture B**llSh*t’ & ‘How To Be A Cool Dad’. It really helped a daunted daughter-raising father to look on the bright and wholesome side of life. 

At the end of each chapter there are bullet points and tips that simplify and sum up whichever concept is being discussed and cleverly add cohesion with the other chapters. 

The take home message from this book is “TALK TO HER”. There is a calm, reassuring message alongside supportive statistics – things are never as bad as they seem and for 99% of girls and young women adolescence will pass normally and they will grow up just fine. Phew!

Nigel Latta offers useful parenting techniques, synthesis of lots of interesting social development theory and gives the reader confidence, all in bite-sized dad-friendly chapters. 

I felt he was a little unclear on what to do if, after all his advice, your daughter still tells you where to go but apart from that a very good read!

Gaetan Bot-Cardinal